Coughlin and his JEGS.com Chevrolet Cobalt crew didn’t come to Bandimere Speedway in advance of this event to test in the thin air like many of his counterparts did so it took the group a little extra time to find the right tune-up. But showing the mettle that earned them the last two world titles, Coughlin’s gang helped him improve each round until he ultimately posted a 7.016 at 196.30 mph.
“We would have been much closer to the power curve had we tested here like the guys in front of us did but it just didn’t work out for us this year to come test so we had to learn on the fly,” the 59-time national event winner said. “We started off sluggish and just worked hard to get a race day set-up that we felt would benefit us tomorrow and I think we found it today.
“This Victor Cagnazzi race team is made up of champions and they showed why they’re the best once again this weekend. We were down early but no one stressed out about it. We just went to work and made the car better each round. Now we’re fired up for race day.”
As the No. 8 qualifier, Coughlin will enjoy lane choice by one-thousandth of a second over ninth-place qualifier and fellow Ohioan Larry Morgan, who posted a best of 7017 at 195.31 mph. Coughlin faced Morgan one time this year in the first round of the season opening race in Pomona, Calif. He triumphed in that encounter when Morgan red-lighted.
“We’re not going to take Larry lightly by any means,” Coughlin said. “Our elapsed times are nearly identical so the race should come down to who does the best job of driving. Larry’s been racing a long time and he’s a wily old dog so I’ll need to get up on the wheel and be ready for him.”
Coughlin entered this event 68 points ahead of Mike Edwards in the Full Throttle points.